1. FC Union Berlin turned in a five-star performance against Arminia Bielefeld to smash the Bundesliga record win for the club.
Goals from Keita Endo, Robert Andrich, Sheraldo Becker, Max Kruse and Cedric Teuchert set Urs Fischer on their way to a stunning 5-0 win over the newly-promoted side.
1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Trimmel, Knoche, Friedrich, Lenz; Andrich, Gentner (Griesbeck 73); Becker (Teuchert 83), Kruse (Maciejewski 83), Endo (Gogia 21); Pohjanpalo (Awoniyi 73)
Arminia Bielefeld: Ortega; Laursen, Pieper, van der Hoorn, Brunner; Prietl, Maier (Seufert 45); Hartel (Yabo 45), Soukou (Kunze 45), Doan (Cordova 82); Klos (Schipplock 88)
Following his transfer from Yokohama F Marinos in the summer, Japanese international Endo was handed his first start in the Bundesliga. The 23-year-old took to the challenge like a duck to water, immediately testing Stefan Ortega in the first minute with a shot from 20 yards out. Endo was the receiver of a terrific assist from Becker in the second minute and slotted past Endo from the centre of the penalty box. The assistant referee flagged prematurely for offside, but after referee Matthias Jöllenbeck consulted with video referee Markus Schmidt in Köln, the goal stood. In the Bundesliga thus far, newbies Arminia Bielefeld have largely defended resolutely and lost their last three games by the odd goal. But Union consistently found avenues into the penalty box and peppered Ortega’s goal in the early exchanges. Becker’s shot struck left-back Laursen in the 10th minute and Ortega did well to turn the dangerous shot away from the goal. Two minutes later, Ortega had no answer to Andrich’s powerful, left-foot drive to put the Köpenick club further in front. Andrich started the move with a laser-sharp cross-field drive from deep to Kruse, who picked out the central midfielder with a direct reverse pass from the left-hand side. The blip in a largely perfect first 45 minutes was the injury to Endo after 20 minutes, which forced Fischer to swap the goalscorer for Akaki Gogia. Andrich was close to a third after 26 minutes when Ortega’s save from Becker’s initial strike was parried straight in the direction of the former Heidenheim man. After settling down to take control of the territory, Union turned into attack-mode in the first minute of half-time stoppage time. Kruse threaded a terrific pass through the Bielefeld defence and Becker smashed home his first of the 2020-21 Bundesliga campaign.
Uwe Neuhaus, who served as Union coach between 2007 and 2014, had clearly seen enough and made three half-time substitutions — in came Reinhold Yabo, Fabian Kunze and Nils Seufert. Substitute Gogia took the game by the scruff of the neck in the 51st minute, driving one-against-one against Cedric Brunner and leaving the Swiss defender in his traps. Gogia was fouled by Brunner and the referee pointed immediately to the penalty spot. Hitting a Bundesliga record, Kruse stepped up and converted his 16th penalty in succession — the striker matches the record of Hans-Joachim Abel who played for VfL Bochum. A double substitution followed in the 72nd minute with Taiwo Awoniyi and Sebastian Griesbeck replacing Joel Pohjanpalo and Christian Gentner. About 10 minutes later, there was another reason for Union to celebrate as 19-year-old academy graduate Tim Maciejewski made his Bundesliga debut. The youngster took the place of the sterling Kruse, while Teuchert joined the attack in place of Becker. It took Teuchert five minutes to get on the scoresheet for the second time in a week, taking a flick from Gogia in his stride and scoring past Ortega.
Union’s Bundesliga season will go in the cooler for a week as international football takes priority. Fischer’s team will return and prepare for an away match in a fortnight against 1. FC Köln at the Rhein-Energie-Stadion on Sunday 22 November at 18:00.